Who is the gamma knife for?
The procedure, also referred to as stereotactic radiosurgery, is most commonly used for:
Brain tumors Radiosurgery is useful in the management of both benign and malignant brain tumors, especially tumors originating elsewhere in the body that have metastasized to the brain. Radiosurgery often can treat tumors that may have been termed inoperable because of their location in hard-to-access areas of the brain.
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) AVMs are abnormal collections of arteries and veins that connect directly, instead of through a network of capillaries. When located in the brain, these abnormalities can cause severe bleeding, headaches or seizures. While many AVMs can be removed with conventional microsurgery, radiosurgery may offer a much less invasive option with less risk of neurologic injury.
Trigeminal neuralgia This nerve disorder causes disabling facial pain that feels like an electric shock. Radiosurgery can create a lesion on the nerve, blocking its pain signals. This procedure is typically reserved for older patients or for patients with recurrent pain after other operations for trigeminal neuralgia.
Acoustic neuromas These noncancerous tumors, also called schwannomas, develop on the nerve that affects balance and hearing. Radiosurgery can effectively control the growth of small tumors in the majority of cases, with a lower risk of deafness or loss of facial movement, compared with conventional surgery.
Pituitary tumors Tumors of the pea-sized "master gland," which is located deep within the brain, can cause a variety of problems because the pituitary controls the thyroid, adrenal and reproductive glands. Radiosurgery may be employed to stop the growth of the tumor and halt the abnormal hormone secretion that can occur from these tumors.